Weather and Your Driving Habits
The April showers are on their way and the summertime thunder floods won’t be too far behind them. We saw a statistic recently that noted that rain is the most common weather-related factor in car accidents. Not snow or ice. Rain. We suppose that makes sense. After all, much of the country never really sees a single flake of snow all winter long. It did get us thinking regarding how accidents and the causes of accidents are discussed. If you are an avid news watcher, you may hear a reporter or news anchor wrap up a segment on the details of an accident by mentioning, “Authorities are still determining if speed was a factor.” Or, better yet, “Investigators are looking into if yesterday’s weather played a factor in the accident.”
When it comes to accidents, weather and speed are two major contributing factors. Here in Maryland, we have several rules associated with our Transportation code regarding speed and road conditions:
(a) Reasonable and prudent speed required.- A person may not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed that, with regard to the actual and potential dangers existing, is more than that which is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.
(b) Driver to control speed.- At all times, the driver of a vehicle on a highway shall control the speed of the vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any person or any vehicle or other conveyance that, in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care, is on or entering the highway.
(c) Drivers to reduce speed in certain circumstances.- Consistent with the requirements of this section, the driver of a vehicle shall drive at an appropriate, reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection at which cross traffic is not required to stop by a traffic control device.
When drivers consider the above and their own driving habits, it is a fairly flimsy contention that “rain caused the accident.” Driving too fast for wet conditions may have caused the accident. It is important that we recognize responsibility and liability when drivers make poor decisions. Acknowledging driver accountability is critical when it comes to discussing road safety.